BY ALI NAQVI –
If you like to keep possession of your TV remote control and also have a habit of surfing channels, you are most likely to come across Ariel TV commercial. Currently being aired during Cricket World Cup, it has become one of the most visible ads currently on TV. The most noticeable aspect of the ad is the great Wasim Akram. But the question is why Ariel is suffering as a brand. It is not the top of the mind detergent that it once was.
There are many reasons why Ariel’s brand equity has fallen away. The marketing and creative strategy of the competition has been aggressive and relentless to say the least. As far as creative campaigns are concerned, it has not been able to up the ante to take the competition head on.
Last year’s Hoo Hoo TVC did not leave any impression on the consumers. What the brand is doing wrong is follow a pattern.
The recipe to make an Ariel ad is simple. Get a celebrity. Bring out all the neighborhood women into the streets. Now get them a huge white sheet, splatter it with all kinds of stains imaginable. Cut the sheet into two halves. Wash one with Ariel and the other with any other detergent. The one washed with Ariel comes out neat and clean and the other with visible stains. The result is obvious; Ariel is the best washing powder. There are numerous ads based on this formula. They might have given results in the past but not anymore.
The brand needs to realize that advertising is not as simple as that. Formulas don’t work when you make creative campaigns. Surf Excel on the other hand looks to engage consumers on an emotional level. It helps the brand connect with its audience in a better and more effective way. Ariel does not even try to hit the emotional notes.
Cashing the occasion
Great brands don’t miss the opportunity to communicate with their audience on special occasions like Mother’s Day, Independence Day and most importantly Ramadan and Eid. Ariel let Ramadan opportunity go by while Surf Excel made full use of it. People were moved by that communication and that’s all a brand needs.
Direct functional advertising has its merits but only for targeted sales driven campaigns. Established brands with proven product performance attempts to enhance their brand image through creative campaigns that may or may not be directly related to their product. A couple of decades ago Ariel was the top of the mind washing powder but it did not evolve as a brand. This laid back marketing strategy is hurting the reputation of the Ariel. Only a fresh creative approach to advertising can help the brand find a place in heart of its consumers.